Here’s what you need to know in news for Sept. 5:
#1. Victoria Osteen under fire for August sermon
Joel Osteen’s wife, Victoria, is facing criticism from the Christian community after a video of one of her sermons preaching “do good for your own self” hit social media.
Victoria is the co-pastor at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas.
Osteen said: “When we obey God, we’re not doing it for God…we’re doing it for ourself. Because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. Do good ’cause God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God, really. You’re doing it for yourself because that’s what makes God happy.”
#2. Gay rights group to march for first time in St. Patrick’s Day Parade
A gay rights organization will march in New York’s historic St. Patrick’s Day Parade for the first time ever.
Roman Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the grand marshal for the parade, said he supports the change.
“I think we’re seeing the Catholicism of Pope Francis come to the Archdiocese of New York,” said J. Patrick Hornbeck, chairman of the theology department at Fordham University. “Cardinal Dolan’s statement is welcoming. He did not make this decision, but sees the parade as an opportunity for unity.”
Pope Francis was once quoted as saying “Who am I to judge?” when asked about gays and lesbians seeking God.
#3. Two lesbian teachers fired from Catholic school
The firing of two lesbian teachers at a Catholic school in St. Louis is stirring some strong opinions.
Some former students have even threatened to stop donating money to the school.
Olivia Reichert and Christina Gambaro were asked to step down this summer after the school said it received a copy of a mortgage application with the couple’s names. The two had married in New York during the summer. The school said they violated the moral contract they had signed.
#4. Pizza parlor to keep giving churchgoers discount despite threats
A Christian-owned pizza restaurant in Arkansas will keep offering a discount to eaters who bring in a church bulletin on Sundays despite threats.
Owner Steven Rose says he will keep offering the 10 percent discount to churchgoers even though the Freedom From Religion Foundation has criticized the incentive and despite a bomb threat from an unknown source.
Rose said Bailey’s is a Christian business, but recently the FFRF sent a letter to the business, saying the discount excluded atheists.
“The law requires places of public accommodation to offer their services to customers without regard to race, color, religion or national origin,” FFRF attorney Elizabeth Cavell said.
#5. Fire destroys Baptist ministries building in Tennessee
A fire on Wednesday destroyed the Baptist Collegiate Ministries building at Cumberland University.
“There are no accidents with God,” said Dave Shelley, director of missions for Wilson County Baptist Association, which owns the building in Lebanon, Tenn. “There will be good that comes out of this.”
Tyler Smith, BCM president, and Nick Sackman, BCM vice president, both live in an apartment in the building. They both escaped.
“I’m thankful they were not hurt. It’s a blessing. We can replace their stuff,” he said.